preparation 20 minutes
Rest 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour 10 minutes
1 kg pumpkin or butternut squashpeeled, seeded and cut into 3 cm pieces, or 400 g pumpkin puree
250 g fine bulgur wheat
½ dsp ground cinnamon
¼ Tsp ground allspice
sea salt and black pepper
3Te.g. simple flour
100 ml olive oil
5 red onionspeeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlicpeeled and finely chopped
200 g baby spinach leaves
1 tonsp cumin
½ dsp pul biber or dried chilli flakes
3Te.g. pomegranate molasses
2Te.g. roasted pine nuts
If using fresh squash, place the pieces in a large pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cook 20-30 minutes until tender, then drain in a colander and simmer for 30 minutes to evaporate excess liquid. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion and set aside.
Once the squash is cool and dry you should have around 400g. Pour into a large bowl and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the chopped onion, bulgur, cinnamon, and allspice, season, and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bulgur to absorb the moisture from the squash. Stir in the flour until combined, then use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth dough. If it looks a bit dry and crumbly, gradually add enough water to bring it together — you may need up to 6 tablespoons depending on the squash.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (convection 200°C)/425°F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a deep, loose-bottomed, 9-1/2″ fluted cake pan with a little oil (I find larger flutes work better with this recipe). Press the pumpkin bulgur batter evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan, then drizzle liberally with olive oil and brush gently so that it covers the entire surface of the batter. Bake until crust is golden brown all over and tops of sides are lightly browned, about 35 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the filling. Rinse the spinach well, then set aside. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons oil, then stir in the onions and garlic, cover and let cook for 10 minutes, until just beginning to soften. Stir in the cumin, pul biber, and a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, then sauté, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sticky and sweet, another 15 minutes.
Stir in the pomegranate molasses and cook for a further 5 minutes – the onions should now be deliciously pink. Add the spinach, increase the heat slightly, and cook until all the leaves have wilted and there is hardly any moisture left in the pan, 8 to 10 minutes.
Place the filling in the tart tin, then remove from the tin and slide onto a serving board. Scatter the pine nuts on top and let rest for five minutes before serving.
Braised fennel with saffron
preparation 5 minutes
Cook 45 mins
1 pinch of saffron threads
2 bulbs of fennel
Sold and black pepper
1 tonE.g Agave or maple syrup (or sugar)
½ bunch of flat-leaf parsleypicked and roughly chopped
2Te.g. harissa paste
Place the saffron in a medium bowl filled with 350ml of just boiled water and allow to steep. Pluck any fronds from the fennel bulbs and set aside, then trim the tops of the stems and bases of the bulbs and quarter the fennel.
Place the fennel slices in a single layer in a large skillet, drizzle with a little olive oil, season generously and turn to coat. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the fennel, turning the wedges in half, until lightly browned throughout, about 10-12 minutes.
Drizzle with the syrup, cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the wedges are lightly caramelized, then pour the saffron and soaking water into the pan. Increase heat, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until fennel is tender.
When the fennel is cooked, remove the lid and increase the heat to cook off most of the liquid in the pan until only about 5mm remain at the bottom. Turn off the stove and let the fennel cool down a bit.
Arrange the harissa on a serving plate, place the fennel slices on top and drizzle with some pan juices. Sprinkle with the parsley and the reserved fennel leaves and serve.
Sweet and sour leek
preparation 5 minutes
Cook 40 mins
serves 4, as side
4Te.g. olive oil
3 cloves of garlicpeeled and finely chopped
1 tone.g. powdered sugar
2 sprigs of thyme or oreganoleaves picked
Sold and black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
Clean the leeks, finely slice the greens and cut the whites into 2 cm rings, then place both in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sliced garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the sugar and sauté a minute or two longer, until the garlic is lightly golden. Stir in the washed leeks and herbs, season with a few pinches of salt and pepper and sauté for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 75ml water, cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and sticky, about 30 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly and cook for another five minutes to remove excess liquid.
Stir in the lemon juice, taste and serve.
Recipes from Nistisima: The Secret to Delicious Vegan Cooking from the Mediterranean and Beyond, by Georgina Hayden, published by Bloomsbury for £26. To order a copy for £22.62 go to guardianbookshop.com